Paper Planes bound for Berlinale

14 December, 2014 by Don Groves

Robert Connolly's Paper Planes has been selected to screen at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The children's film will have its European premiere in the Generation Kplus program.

That will Connolly's third production to be featured in the Berlin festival. His first was The Boys, directed by Rowan Woods, in 1998. Last year his omnibus film Tim Winton's The Turning had its European premiere in Berlin.  


Connolly said, “We are all very excited to return to the Berlinale next year to launch Paper Planes in Europe, a festival that has been a wonderful pioneer in championing cinema for kids from all over the world.”

The tale of an Australian boy's passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan, it  will have its first 3D screenings in Berlin.

Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said, “We are thrilled for Rob and his team to present their feel-good film to the Berlin audience. The film received rave reviews following its screening in Toronto and Busan this year and it marks a great distinction for them to be recognised by three of the leading film festivals in the world.”

Roadshow is launching the film, which stars Sam Worthington, Ed Oxenbould, Deborah Mailman and David Wenham, on more than 200 screens on January 15, the widest-ever release for Connolly.  He tells IF he is grateful for the support of Australian exhibitors in allocating so many screens in that prime holiday date. 

There won't be any 3D prints in Oz because family films have not been popular in that format and many kids dislike wearing the glasses.

Connolly co-wrote the screenplay with Steve Worland and produced with Maggie Miles and Liz Kearney.

Meanwhile he is set to executive produce Spear, a big screen adaptation of Bangarra Dance Theatre director and choreographer Stephen Page's dance theatre work. 

Page, who is directing,  collaborated on the screenplay with Justin Monjo. John Harvey, whom Conolly is mentoring, is producing and shooting is due to start in February. The project is supported by the HIVE Fund, an initiative of the Adelaide Film Festival, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts, Screen Australia and ABC Arts.

Spear is a contemporary hybrid feature where two Aboriginal clans from urban and remote communities live in an apocalyptic world and must decide who will be the new leader for the next 100-year cycle.

Connolly says, "It's a mix of dance and abstact narrative. My view is we are seeing a polarization between small, bold and innovative films and bigger releases such as what we're doing with Paper Planes. The middle ground is tough to crack."

Spear will be released by Connolly's CinemaPlus, which specialises in event screenings.    

European premiere
Arenamedia Pty Ltd
Genre Children’s
Director Robert Connolly
Producers Robert Connolly, Maggie Miles, Liz Kearney
Executive Producers Andrew Myer, Jonathan Chissick, Gary Hamilton, Ying Ye, Bernadette O’Mahony, Eric Bana
Writers Steve Worland, Robert Connolly
Cast Sam Worthington, Ed Oxenbould, Deborah Mailman, David Wenham
International Sales Arclight Films
Australian Distributor Village Roadshow
Synopsis An imaginative children’s film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan